Six of Australia’s best triathletes are the latest Team Members who have booked their tickets to Birmingham where they will be bold in gold.
Three returning Commonwealth Games Australia alumni, including two defending gold medallists, will be joined by three athletes on debut in Australia’s triathlon squad for next month’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Gold Coast 2018 gold medallists Jake Birtwhistle, 27, and Matt Hauser, 24, will be joined by pocket rocket Charlotte McShane, 31, to spearhead the team which is looking to build on its mixed relay dominance.
Brandon Copeland, 26, Natalie Van Coevorden, 29, and Sophie Linn, 27, all making their Commonwealth Games debut, round out our 14-strong Para and able-bodied triathlon squad.
Jake Birtwhistle, Launceston’s 27-year-old Tokyo Olympian, is excited to be racing at his second Commonwealth Games in the green and gold.
“In many ways it feels like the Gold Coast Games has only just passed, after we missed so much racing in the last couple of years. It’s still such a fresh memory,” he said.
“Being named in an Australian team is never something to take for granted, but the feeling can get hidden behind all the hard work and even bigger goals.
“It feels like another step in the journey towards those goals, but it is nice to take a step back and appreciate how special it actually is to represent Australia.”
The experienced performer has been training alongside newcomer Brandon Copeland under the Triathlon Australia Olympic Program Head Coach, Joel Filliol, on the Gold Coast.
Copeland, from Kingscliff on the New South Wales North Coast, will be making a long-awaited Games debut, watched by his proud parents who will be course-side in Birmingham.
Matt Hauser came agonisingly close to a podium finish at his hometown 2018 Gold Coast Games and feels confident that this time around his maturity and experience will enable him to go one better.
He had a career-best fourth finish in last month’s World Triathlon Championship Series event at Yokohama, having refocused his energy after a disappointing Olympic campaign.
Bairnsdale-turned-Wollongong product Charlotte McShane has found a new appreciation for triathlon after suffering from a lingering back injury for two years.
She said this Games selection is extra special because there were times where she didn’t think she would race at a high level again.
“Somehow I’ve made it out the other side, with more love and appreciation for the sport than I could have imagined,” she said.
“I am in a really good place physically and mentally, surrounded by an amazing support team, and I know I have so much progression left in me over the next couple of months.”
Sophie Linn, the former elite swimmer from South Australia and USA college track runner, was an automatic qualifier for the Games – an incredible feat after partially tearing her Achilles tendon at the start of last year’s triathlon season.
Campbelltown’s Natalie Van Coevorden, who trains in Europe, spent six weeks at home at the start of the year to be with family and friends. The return allowed her to hit the reset button on training and refocus for the Games.
Australian Team Chef de Mission Petria Thomas OAM welcomed the selection of today’s triathletes who ready to be bold in gold in Birmingham.
“Well done to the six Triathlon Team Members who are bound for Birmingham,” Thomas said.
“This is a special day for the Team Members, their coaches, their families and supporters, and I know they will be giving it their all and representing Australia proudly. They make for an exciting group, who are ready to be bold in gold in Birmingham.”
Triathlon Australia CEO Tim Harradine congratulated the latest additions to the Triathlon team bound for Birmingham.
“I congratulate all the athletes for the honour of being selected to the Australian team for the Commonwealth Games,” Harradine said.
“All of Australia will be behind this team, and I wish them all well in what will be extremely exciting racing.”